Make a real difference! Become a hospice volunteer!

Our hospice volunteers are members of the community who donate their time and offer compassionate support to our hospice patients and their families. Some have had a personal experience with hospice care; others simply want to give back to our community in a meaningful way. All of our volunteers are carefully screened and are required to complete 18-24 hours of volunteer training, which is offered twice a year in the spring and fall, as a six-week classroom training. Individualized training is available throughout the year.

  • Fall training begins September 27 from 1:00 to 5:00 pm for 6 consecutive Wednesdays ending November 1. Applications are available online and must be into the Volunteer Office by September 15 in order to complete interviews prior to training.
  • If you cannot make these dates and still want to be a hospice volunteer, please complete an application anyway and you will be contacted to discuss options.
  • All training is held at 512 East Gutierrez Street in Santa Barbara.
  • If you are interested in hospice volunteering and want to start immediately, please contact our office at 805.690.6274 to learn about our self-study options available throughout the year.

Volunteers are important members of the Hospice Care Team. They provide the same services as a friendly neighbor would. VNHC has a variety of volunteer options. Some of the ways our volunteers help hospice families include shopping or running errands, preparing a light meal, reading or letter writing, filling in to give family caregivers a break, or simply being present and listening.

Volunteers visit a patient an average of once a week, for 2-4 hours (including driving time). The time commitment may fluctuate depending upon the patient’s needs and the volunteer’s availability. VNHC also has a volunteer Pet Therapy Program, a Veteran to Veteran Program, and a Flower Delivery Program. In addition, we have volunteers who support and assist our Hospice patients and staff at VNHC’s Serenity House. If you have a special skill or talent, we would love to find a way for you to share it!

Please see our Calendar of Events for dates and times for the spring and fall volunteer training programs.

If you would like to apply to the VNHC Hospice Volunteer training program, please download a copy of the Volunteer Application and return it to VNHC Volunteers, 512 E. Gutierrez Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93103, or email it to volunteer@vnhcsb.org. Self-directed training is available for those volunteers who need to customize their own schedule because they cannot attend the in-class training. You must be available during regular business hours M-F, 8:00 to 5:00 for processing. Please contact Arlene Stepputat at 805.690.6274 or arlene.stepputat@vnhcsb.org.

Volunteer Application is available at the bottom of this page.

Volunteer Opportunities

Direct Patient Home Care

Volunteers are assigned to a patient and their caregivers to provide support and assistance, as would a friendly neighbor or helpful family member. These are usually hospice patients but occasionally it is a home health patient. Some patients reside at home while others may require a visit in one of the many residential facilities for seniors within our community. A commitment of 50 hours annually is the minimum expectation usually done in weekly shifts of 2-4 hours.

Serenity House

Our hospice facility is staffed with round the clock nursing care. Volunteers assist the staff in three hour shifts, primarily by visiting patients, greeting visitors, and working to support the overall needs of Serenity House. An additional 3 hours of onsite orientation is required to be a volunteer at Serenity House.

“Faithful Friends” Pet Therapy

A pet therapy program is provided by hospice volunteers with animals who have been officially certified as pet therapists. They visit patients who specifically request or would benefit from a “furry friend”.

Music Therapy

Hospice volunteers who are musicians have the opportunity to work with our certified Music Therapist to play music for a patient. This is a wonderful way to soothe and calm our patients.

“Bouquets of Love” Flower Delivery Program

We work in collaboration with The Dream Foundation to provide and deliver flowers to our patients and families. Flowers are picked up at the a designated downtown location. This type of community outreach is always very welcomed. Sometimes a quick visit is made to a patient receiving the flowers.

Hospice Administrative Clerk

Clerical and Special Event duties could include: filing, word processing, planning, telephone calls, assembling admit packets, or other office support.

Ambassador Volunteers

Our Ambassador Volunteers assist with special hospice events for the public, such as Angels Among Us or VetNet meetings.  As an Ambassador Volunteer you may also serve at health fairs and other events that require specialized knowledge about our agencies clinical programs.

NODA –No One Dies Alone

This is a collaborative effort between VNHC, Hospice of Santa Barbara, and several local residential facilities. Its purpose is to bring comfort and compassion to those in the last 48 to 72 hours of life. Active patient care volunteers with a minimum of 6 months of service are eligible to be part of this program in addition to their regular assignments. Additional training is required.

Application Process

All patient care volunteers are required to receive training on topics related to aging, disease, death and dying, compassionate communication, practical skills, psycho-social and spiritual dynamics, loss and grief and other helpful information. In addition to attending the hospice training sessions, volunteers must complete the following requirements:

  • Fill out an application with phone references
  • Complete an in-person interview
  • Provide us with two written character reference letters
  • Complete a very minimal physical examination at our cost
  • Successfully pass a 2-part Tuberculin B skin test at our cost
  • Consent to a drug test at no charge to you.
  • Consent to a criminal background check
  • Complete an 18-24 hour training course if having patient contact
  • Commit to a minimum of 50 hours of service annually.

If you have any questions about being a Hospice Volunteer, please contact Arlene Stepputat at 805.690.6274 or arlene.stepputat@vnhcsb.org.

If you are interested in volunteering at Serenity House located at 930 Miramonte Drive in Santa Barbara, please contact Michelle Cervantez at 805.617.7843 or mcervantez@vnhcsb.org. Thank you for your interest in Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.

Volunteer Application

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